Ireland is the European hub for Google and Apple and other tech giants, but is the country ready for new technology and the digital transformation?
Martina Larkin, head of Europe and Eurasia with the World Economic Forum, is in Dublin today to speak at Futurescope.
Ms Larkin said Ireland is doing quite well in its readiness for a digital transformation. It ranks 25th out of 139 countries that the WEF researched. It is doing particularly well when it comes to digital skills, e-commerce, and the infrastructural and political regulatory environment is quite good. But more can be done when it comes to affordability and usage, particularly on the Government side when it comes to digital and mobile products, Ms Larkin added.
Technological advances offer opportunity for growth when it comes to open trade and open borders, she said, "so e-commerce for example is a great opportunity because you can reach customers outside the country as well, and that helps small and medium sized businesses reaching customers beyond the borders of Ireland."
There are differing views on whether the digital transformation is a risk to jobs. "There hasn't been any consensus yet," Ms Larkin said. "We don't know where we will end up and how this technological revolution will impact skills. Anything from one to 50 million jobs could potentially be lost, and every technological revolution has brought differences in how jobs are grown."
She said this time what is different is that it is no longer blue collar jobs that are at risk but also white collar jobs, such as lawyers and doctors. "It's very different world from what we have seen in the past. It is very important that we focus on upskilling and reskilling people to prepare for this new reality."
The potential positive outcome of this technological revolution is that it does offer opportunities for everybody who is open and wants to adapt to it, she said, but it does require people to be very agile, and really adapt to these new technologies and see the opportunities and benefit from them, rather than see the risks and fear of change.
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